Pilot Study 1 – Virtual Reality Functional Communication Training in 5 Autistic Children

Intro:The many sights, sounds, stimuli, and unpredictable nature of air travel place an undue burden on individuals along the autism spectrum, often preventing them and their families from experiencing air travel.

Methods:Using a VR airport and narrative scripts, we delivered an air travel training module to five children on the autism spectrum once per week for three consecutive weeks. A final fourth session took place at a real airport to test the training transfer. 

Results:All participants (n=5) successfully navigated the air travel process, from check in to boarding the airplane, without interruption. Family surveys noted the novel application of virtual reality training and the effectiveness of the intervention. 

Conclusion: Virtual reality is a feasible intervention technology for children on the autism spectrum. Future studies will explore varying age ranges, ability levels, biomarker correlates, and communication outputs.

Our partners for this pilot study include: